MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines (UP) veteran Isa Molde acknowledged her shortcomings after the Lady Maroons saw their Final 4 hopes go down the drain on Sunday.
A heartbreaking five-set loss to National University dropped UP to 6-7 in the UAAP Season 81 tournament, making it impossible for them to catch up to University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University in the league standings.
Thus, the team that was expected to be a shoo-in for a Final 4 spot will instead be left on the outside looking in.
"Hindi naman sa nagkulang. Lumaban naman kami. Siguro ayun nga, lumaban din 'yung NU and ginusto talaga. Wala namang nagkulang. Siguro, lumaban lang talaga ang NU," said Molde after their comeback fell short.
The Lady Maroons dropped the first two sets, including a brutal 24-26 reversal in the second frame that saw them squander a set point. They got their acts together in the third and fourth, thus forcing a decider, and appeared all set to complete the come-from-behind win when they moved to match point, 15-14.
Unfortunately for UP, the clutch play of NU rookie Princess Robles and veteran Audrey Paran – along with their own errors – proved to be their undoing. The Lady Bulldogs outplayed them down the stretch, seizing a 25-21, 26-24, 18-25, 23-25, 17-15 triumph.
Molde said afterward that she was disappointed in her own performance. She finished with 9 points in the game, along with 21 digs and 7 receptions. Still, the former Rookie of the Year knows she could have done so much more.
"Para sa akin, na-disappoint ako kasi nga parang wala din akong laro... Paano ba, basta ako na-disappoint ako sa sarili ko, not sa team," said Molde.
There were no excuses for Molde, who was playing in her third game since suffering an ankle injury in a loss to Ateneo de Manila University. The open hitter refused to discuss her injury and would not disclose if she was at 100% entering the crucial match.
"Next question," she said.
Instead, she acknowledged that the Lady Bulldogs proved to be a tough opponent for them. National U had also beaten UP when they played in the first round; now, with the young team playing without pressure, they pulled off another shocker over the Lady Maroons.
"'Yun 'yung mahirap sa team na wala namang mawawala sa kanila eh," said Molde of the Lady Bulldogs, who were already out of the Final 4 race heading into the game. "Kasi kung ano 'yung gusto nila, gagawin nila."
"Pero kami, big factor sa amin ang game na 'yun, kasi pang-Final 4," she admitted.
Molde, who averages a shade under 10 points per game for UP, has yet to decide if she will return for her final season of eligibility.
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